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Physical abuse is when someone hurts a child or young person on purpose, causing a non-accidental physical injury to a child.

Examples of physical abuse are:

  • Hitting, slapping, shaking or throwing
  • Burning or scalding
  • Drowning, suffocating or choking
  • Pushing or kicking
  • Inappropriate restraint or false imprisonment
  • Using physical force to discipline
  • Misusing medication
  • Fabricating or inducing an illness or ill health

Signs and symptoms of physical abuse in children can include:

  • Unexplained recurrent injuries, marks or burns
  • Covering injuries with clothing even in hot weather
  • Fear of physical contact and shrinking back if touched